With Internet penetration and accessibility gaining traction worldwide, online shopping has become a mainstream activity for many. Consumers are increasingly substituting the physical act of shopping at brick and mortar stores with making purchases online. In response, many retailers have supplemented their physical stores by generating revenue across various online platforms, with some even going exclusively online.
However, the vast e-commerce landscape can be a little daunting for companies who are new to online operations. We’ll explore four quick tips that can help organizations and merchants set up an optimal order fulfilment process to tackle supply chain complexities in this 2-part article series.
Tip #1: Maintaining inventory control
The most common challenge that retailers face when streamlining the online order fulfilment process is having control over their inventory. Inventory accuracy is critical to the health of any warehousing operation — real-time cycle counts help prevent customers from ordering products that are out of stock or unavailable for purchase.
To fulfill orders efficiently and reliably, and fully satisfy customers’ expectations, companies need to have visibility and real-time inventory data in all locations, at all times. For third-party logistics provider ASL Distribution Services (ASL), it was its need for a system to meet unique customer demands that drove it to search for supply chain solutions. The company needed to store merchandise from a big box store in a central warehouse and fulfill orders on behalf of the many retailers that ASL serves through drop-shipping. With an Asset Management System which can be made available in Warehouse Management System from Körber, ASL was able to control and manage the increased complexity of their warehouse demands and inventory requirements.
Similarly, subscription-based grooming service Dollar Shave Club had outgrown its previous 3PL provider and needed a Warehouse Management System (WMS) that would support its continued expansion and help the company gain greater control over its operations. Körber’s highly configurable cloud-based WMS allowed Dollar Shave Club to increase its warehouse throughput rate, improve order accuracy, and offer the option of same-day shipping and, in the end, support his business growth strategy.
Tip #2: Lowering order fulfillment costs
Factors such as shipping delays, transportation issues, number of operational staffs, and even expediting orders can lead to an increase in costs. Automated technologies can help companies streamline their order fulfilment process and lowering overall operating costs.
Luis Simões, one of the largest logistics operator in Iberian Peninsula, required a WMS to manage its new warehouse and increase the efficiency of picking tasks, as well as to reduce its picking error rates. Körber designed a turnkey automated warehouse solution — consisting of a WMS and Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) and voice picking software — based on Luis Simões’ requirements. The system improved the speed and productivity of warehouse operations while reducing operation costs.
An effective and reliable order fulfilment process is a critical factor that helps companies distinguish themselves from their competitors in the world of e-commerce. Organizations that wish to stay ahead of the e-commerce game will do well to consider installing the right logistics and order fulfilment solutions for their custom requirements.
*Tips 3 and 4 will be revealed in the last part of this series — stay tuned.